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Econet announces it has reached more than 1 million connected EcoCash users

Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms firm, announced today that it has surpassed the 1 million mark in ‘connected’ users for its EcoCash mobile money service. The milestone, the company says in the announcement (a thank you to its subscribers), “has been achieved in record time and is the fastest growth of such a service in the world”.

This is the first time Econet has come out officially with information about the service’s uptake since launch back in September 2011. We’ve heard from sources at Econet that the service has had massive uptake in the market and that (this they mention very proudly) the rate of uptake has been far much higher than Kenya’s M-PESA registered when it launched.

The actual usage, which is a different measurement from the announced ‘connected’ users, has not been disclosed. We probably will get in a press release that follows such announcements. It’s also not clear today what the connected users use EcoCash for. The information we have in this regard (again all unofficial) is that most transactions are airtime topups. Local remittances (i.e. subscribers sending each other money) we hear don’t account for the bulk of transactions.

Remittances are the money in Mobile Money and Econet needs to get more remittance traffic. But that may not happen until it becomes a really extremely low cost (no brainer low) and convenient alternative to the other methods, i.e. the post office, the banks, and the other mobile money services.

One of the major gripes we had with Econet after it launched the service was that it was too costly to send money using EcoCash. To transfer US $200 to a non-EcoCash subscriber for example, a subscriber had to part with US $14 in charges. Econet quickly fixed this slashing that cost to $6 but it remained one of the most expensive mobile money services to use locally.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

20 thoughts on “Econet announces it has reached more than 1 million connected EcoCash users

  1. That means TN Bank, which Econet is going to buy 49% shares is going to add 1 million customers within the next 6 months. I got word on the street that Ecocash is going to be like Kingdom Bank Cellcard and will be linked to a TN bank account.

    It just has to be linked to a bank account because as it is Ecocash is vulnerable to abuse to such a point that fraudulent transactions like fraudulent use of Ecocash ill be hard to trace because you have no bank statement.

    And when Ecocash is linked to a bank account they will obviously and without a doubt use TN bank. Already TN bank is their superagent.

    Just recently Kingdom said it had 200 000 Cellcard users.

      1. No, that is not so. EcoCash is a product of Econet. TN Bank maintains the trust account of EcoCash sinmce Econet is not a deposit taking institution. Econet is not offering Ecocash “in association” with anybody. it’s just like if you have  bank acount with POSB. you do not operate that account in association with POSB.

        TN Bank is a superagent. From that level, when you apply to bercome an agent, you apply to Econet but TN Bank actually does (what i would say is) the bulk of the critical work.

        If you want to know that TN Bank is a superagent, attempt to open an agent account. Pretend like you want to and you will see for yourself. You wilol even get documkentation that says so. I sadly cant quote from the EcoCash booklet right now.

        1. This speech by the Zim Reserve bank governor, Gono, does refer to the relationship as partnership. 

          At the end of that speech Gono even says:

          join me once again in congratulating Econet Wireless and TN Bank on the successful launch of their very own mobile banking product

          If I remember well, EcoCash adverts in the Zimbabwe newspapers also note that the product is offered “…in association with TN Bank”. Are you suggesting they’ve just been lying about it?

          1. I have to travel. I will be back with a response in a few days, and with the evidence.

            1. I like how he didn’t provide any citation to support his arguments and suddenly ‘had to travel’.

              How laughable that you think i should not travel just because i have to post a comment on Techzim which you run, since you claim to know IPs.

              We all lea different lives and mine doesn’t have to be like yours.

              Anyway i do not care what you think because i know your issues are with joomla debates.

              If you have issues with me on techzim, i urge you post that i should not com e here and i wont even  bother to read your blog. you will also never find my IP address anywhere because i will make sure to block yours.

              Techzim is not my life.

              And for your own information i travel a lot. On top of that i stay several tens of kilometres from the CBD and there is no internet where i stay. I had the Ecocash documentation at home.

              So, in your high-sounding reasoning was i supposed to attend to a free response to Techzim rather than del with other important and better issues in my life.

              Last year i had not Techzim, and i certainly can do without it.

              And bexcause you thinmk you are so knowledgeable about what i do, i just have to let you know that i am here writing now because a pressing emergency brought me back, and since i passed by home, i just got the Ecocash documents so i can respond timeously.

              As for your last issue I really dont know what your point is. Indeed i have posted without my name on Techzim. I think many people, including myself, gave reasons why they sometimes want to use not their real names.

              And, shamwari, (and hausi shamwari yangu) not everyone is in Harare with a IP address has a dongle. Some of us use publicly accessible computers and internet cafes and even hotspots, or even borrow computers of others. Many even share works computers.



              WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH.


            2. @Prosper as a writer, your comprehension skills need some work (or maybe you needed to calm down first before flying into your long-winded diatribe, which, as a reasonable person, I didn’t read entirely)

              I am very curious to know if there are any […] from other threads

              I did not fail to notice you found time to reply to my comment, and but not to Kabweza’s. You might ‘have a life’ as you say, but you certainly invest a lot of words into techzim; cue the confusion when you suddenly are short on words and long on excuses.

          2.  According to the “ECOCASH AGEBNT APPLICATION FORM” i am in possesion of and the “Ecocash Agent terms and conditions” contract, it is clearly stated that Ecocash is a Econet product. Ecocash is not being offered “in partnership” with TN bank. The analogy i gave above of you having a POSB account is exactly the case with TN Bank. The Ecocash Agent terms and conditions also state it clearly that Econet is using TN Bank as its bankers for ITS product, which is EcoCash. The reason i cannot quote from tghe contract is because of it’s ;legal and private nature. However, the relationship of TN Bank to Econet is public knowledge. you can even ask Econet itself. ore better still, go to Econet and say you want to become an Ecocash agent and read the documents they give you.

            If you ask TN Bank, they will even tell you that EcoCash is Econet’s product. You can even call them saying you want to open a Ecocash account and you will see for yourself.

            You will be aware that Ecocash was initially launched by Econet in Burundi, before TN Bank even existed.

            Their relationship is similar to that of Safaricom/M-Pesa. M-Pesa is Safaricom’s product. Safaricom has a trust account with a bank for M-Pesa transactions but that does not mean Safaricom’s M-Pesa is a product of Safaricom and that bank. Just like Skwama is a Telecel product but Cellcard is a Kingdom product.

            Econet is not licenced as a bank and therefore cannot accept deposits of funds and for money transfers, that would be in violation of the banking laws. When someone deposits money iinto ecocash, he can keep it in there indefinitely and therefore, Ecopnet/Ecocash assumes a bankling function for which they would need a license. The “association” you talk of is simply that Econet choise to exclusively  work through TN Bank.

            TN Bank, apart from being the banker of Ecocash also is Econet’s superagent that oversees the agents you know. This is because TN Bank runs, operates, and maintains the Ecocash mobile money transfer trust account. The banks monitors and oversees all transactions of everyone in the ecocash system.

            If relationships were to sour, Econet can simply switch to another bank just like you can open a bank account at another bank.

            It’s just like if you accepted PayPal on your website, that would not mean you are accepting credit cards in association with PayPal.

            I am not suggesting any lies, all i am doing is just telling you the facts. Research for yourself and you will see. It is also possibkle you may have selectively interpreted the Econet – TN Bank “association”.

    1. Sadly Kingdom Banks thinks in bits and pieces, unlike Econet which goes for total domination. Right  now  (outside Harare) they are saying Kingdom is rolling out prepaid Mastercards in the border towns first. How ridiculous is that. People in Kwekwe may not cross the border everyday but certainly they can use those cards online.

      In the end, when Ecocash accounts are linked to bank accounts, there will really be no need for a Kingdom Cellcard, except as a sign of rebellion. You will be able to view your account transactions,. which is currently not the case with Ecocash.

      1. My preference was more on the international side (monegram versus mastercard ie having an extra card issued to me on my diaspora account and passing it on to regular recipients of my quids) lol. Still to ecperience ecocash.

  2. Due to the offer of free airtime ($1), when you register. That is why ecocash subscriber  increased saka it means they had to buy people to join ecocsh ka L.S.M pakadii apa?

    1. I think that is just a tip of the iceberg. When you are an Ecocash agent, you get paid $1 for each new person you register. Imagine you are in a high-density suburb and each house registers 1 Ecocash subscriber. You make tonnes of money! And with so many things going for a dollar for two ….

      Secondly, Econet has a wide network of airtime vendors, a network Kingdom Bank cannot match, and that alone is a huge personal selling force to get subscribers. And since Nigel said to hell with Moxon, TM is not really there to back him up …. he should try Zimposts which Econet was clever enough to take on board.

      Back to your point, Kingdom will not deposit a dollar into your Cellcard when you register, neither do you get free Telecel airtime! lol

    2. I know someone signed up for ecocash simply to get the free $1 because they were stranded made me laugh as they had no intention of ever using it on the regular, besides that that’s a huge number of people who have signed up I keep wondering what are the benefits of using ecocash, I once accompanied a colleague to redeem money sent to them, sadly the post office had a huge queue and econet shops were also a non stater (the guards cant tell the difference between a econet subscriber and someone inquiring about ecocash which to me is a minus ), eventually after visiting a TN Bank branch and joining the queue like regular tn bank customer’s we did manage to redeem the money sent, besides a big waste of time it was in no way convenient to a CBD frequenter like myself.

      I’m neither complaining or trolling but it’s a product that just isn’t relevant to a person like myself

  3. Thething that made MPESA uptake slow was bcoz it was “A NEW INVENTION IN THE WORLD”& people could not understand how you can send& receive money via a phone.

    Now it has formed a platform for all mobile money transfers globally& MPESA does more transactions a day three times more than what MONEYGRAM& WESTERN UNION transacts world wide in a single day!!!!

    MPESA now has over 18 Million users in Kenya& is avavaible in over 45 countries world wide.

    Last year January saw MPESA come up with the 1st Credit Card that is topped up by using a phone world wide. TheMpesa Visa Card that enables one to transact online& in millions of VISA ATMs& Sales Points world wide.

    So far the CEO at Safaricom Mr. Michael Joseph, who enabled the development of MPESA is now with World Bank to help over see the development& future of mobile money transfer in Africa as a major economic activity that will help see Africa develop faster than at the current rate.

    1. Your are right my bro. Econet is brand I love and will support when it is under fire but to make comparison with Mpesa is ridiculous. Mpese is trendsetter in a country with a large local and dispora community. Their focus was not just on money transfer but on serving the underbanked, i.e. enabling the underbanked to pay for services, and be paid. They have gained the trust of World Bank and Western Union, thus it will be dificult to dislodge them from leadership position.

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